Often Partisan

Supporters Trust Launch Meeting

Yesterday I went along to the launch meeting of the Birmingham City Supporters Trust at the Unite offices in Broad Street to see how the Trust was progressing.

With the Supporters Trust fully incorporated and registered by the Financial Services Authority in February, the meeting was told by acting secretary Margaret Decker that the Trust has now entered its next phase – a recruitment drive to get members to increase its legitimacy as a voice for supporters. The panel confirmed that the trust would be looking to have around 500 members by the end of the summer, which is when it will be looking to hold its AGM and elections. Until then, the members present confirmed by a show of hands their happiness with the steering group to continue with their work in promoting and evangelising the trust; and the panel invited all present to attend the Steering Group meetings (first Tuesday of every month, at 7pm, at the Royal George on Tilton Road) to help push the trust forwards.

James Mathie, who was there as a representative of Supporters Direct (who are a national entity set up to help set up Supporters Trusts) told me that the trust were on the right path; whilst the numbers attending the launch meeting may seem low (there were about 50 people there), this wasn’t uncommon at all. He pointed out that for instance whilst Newcastle United’s launch meeting had a similar amount of people turn up, their supporters trust had something like 3000 online members.

Steve McCarthy, a member of the Steering group told me that the Blues Trust were looking at other Trusts around the country as an example; for instance Shewsbury Town’s trust has only about 400 members as most fans are happy with the club and the way it acts on and off the pitch; however the trust is seen as a good thing to have because of the discussions within parliament of changing rules of football governance to force supporter inclusion on club boards. Similarly, whilst things might well be going okay with Blues now we don’t know what is around the corner and it’s better to have something set up ready for action if things do go wrong.

As people will know I was one of the founder members of the trust myself; whilst I have now taken a back seat as it were and am acting on more of an observer basis I’m still a believer that it can be something very positive for Birmingham City and it’s fans. I understand that there is criticism from some quarters regarding the current low membership amongst other things but I do think some of that criticism is unjustified.

The way I see it, there are a lot of unhappy fans at Blues at the moment with respect to matters off the pitch – you only have to listen to half the Tilton singing “we don’t care about Carson” to understand this is a fact. IF fans are unhappy, I think that they have three choices – they can sit and whinge about it at home/down the pub/on the internet; they can take the direct action they see fit to display their unhappiness such as protesting against the board/boycotting games/moaning on the internet, or they can try to achieve something positive and do something that might help the club for the better. I see the Supporters Trust idea as the third option; I don’t want to hurt the club, I don’t want to stop going to games but I do want the club to become a happier place.

It’s true that the idea of a Supporters Trust may not work. People might see it as doomed to failure from the beginning. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least try – we expect the eleven men on the pitch to put in a shift even in the face of a potential thrashing so why shouldn’t we put in the effort to try to make the club better?

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9 Responses to “Supporters Trust Launch Meeting”

  • jassyblue80 says:

    I was at the meeting yesterday too, and thought it was a good positive start!

    as was said by all who spoke yesterday, the next stage is a recruitment drive! me and the lads I was with are going to put posters up in Shannon’s and put membership forms in there too! we are also going to do it in our locals around stechford!
    I’m also going to give a link or form to anyone who moans about the board etc…

    I’ll try and get to the steering group meeting as I have some ideas that may help, as I have some experience of project management and setting up new groups.

    I was a little unsure about this group, but after reading the supporters direct info and listening to the speakers yesterday I’m on board! I think it’s a great idea! what ever happens on and off the pitch I hope this trust gets going!

    as was discussed in the future it could be a uefa requirement soon, so it would be good to be ahead and have a plan!

  • glyn rees says:

    Good blog O.P totally aree , count nme in Kro4ever

  • Julian Glass says:

    What was said? Apart from the recruitment drive what are the action points and by whom?

    • almajir says:

      Julian – if you want minutes of the meeting I suggest you contact the Trust direct.

  • jassyblue80 says:

    Julian- to be fair most was about the reason behind the group, examples of how they work and then asking people to sign others up!

  • Dirty Bertie says:

    Only two things talk in football: money and numbers.

    We have no money so to be heard we need numbers. Talk of action without such backup is just hot air. It takes time to build a membership (unless a Portsmouth, etc happens) so for starters, 10% of season ticket holders would make them pay attention. What have you got to lose? £5?!

    Get everyone you know to join, including your gran and her boyfriend. Invest £5 now so that should a Portsmouth happen to us we will be ready. And if it doesn’t they won’t be able to ignore the fans’ views anymore. We may even end up with the sort of money that talks too.

  • Mark Peacock says:

    I was at the meeting and I was impressed with what was said. We have some good ideas being sounded out and we just need to start to build the numbers up.

    If you want to have your say then you need to join the group. There is no point mouthing off down the pub and then having no voice being heard at the club. If we get 500 members and have a democratic vote we will start to be able to get some sway!

    The board will have to listen if we get the support from 10% of our loyal fan base.

    Lets get one thing right, this is not a protest group, this is a group of people who care about the wealfare of our club. Let’s not forget it is our club, the urrent owners are just custodians for a short while, we were here before them and wll be here long after they have gone!

  • an oldun says:

    Can you explain what those of us who can not attend the meetings do to join and give support
    For instance is there an address to contact to write in with our donations. Is there any website?
    Is there a form of application,if so how is this obtainwd. Would a dataied respose be provided
    on this forum ?


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